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Pandemic forces organizers to 're-imagine' Muskoka Pride Week

Muskoka Pride Week will be celebrated July 18-26 and will feature online events and 'safe' in-person, physically-distanced events
2020-Muskoka Pride Week image
Supplied image

Muskoka Pride has announced that July 18 through 26 is the 2020 Muskoka Pride Week. The annual week of activities celebrates the Muskoka lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community.

This year’s Pride celebration is very different, explains Merv Taylor-Morin, President of Muskoka Pride.

“Due to COVID-19 we are not able to hold our signature events such as the Parade and Picnic. Instead we have been working on a series of virtual and inperson events that celebrate Pride while ensuring social distancing," said Taylor-Morin. "Pride cannot be cancelled – it is inside all of us – Pride can only be reimagined.”

Muskoka Pride board member Shawn Forth explains, “Many larger Pride festivals across North America have been able to hold all of their events online. In Muskoka, where internet can be intermittent, we did not want to rely solely on virtual events. Taking advantage of Muskoka’s wide-open spaces and natural beauty, we are also holding some in-person events that are safely socially-distanced.”


Muskoka Pride Week will feature several events online. The annual Pride church service at Bala and Port Carling United Church is being held Sunday, July 19 through Zoom and YouTube.

Muskoka Pride will be holding a special MQFF (Muskoka Queer Film Festival) Pride Edition through Facebook on Saturday, July 25. Look for favourite films from the May festival, along with some new films.

On Friday, July 24 Littlewoodsmith presents a virtual reading of “The Laramie Project”. Featuring 15 actors from Muskoka and Toronto, “The Laramie Project” is a play about the community reaction to the 1998 murder of gay university student Matthew Sheppard in Laramie, Wyoming. Registration in advance is required, and is available on the Muskoka Pride website.


All municipalities in Muskoka will be raising the Rainbow Pride flag on Monday, July 20 and Tuesday, July 21. This year all flag raisings will be live-streamed to the Muskoka Pride Facebook page. Members of the public may attend, but must ensure social distancing and are asked to wear face masks.


Some in-person events are being held. The annual Mini-golf tournament at Northern Escapades in Bracebridge on Thursday, July 23rd at a special Muskoka Pride rate. A take-out dinner and tailgate party is being planned, along with an evening at the Muskoka Drive-in. Social distancing and face masks will be expected for all in-person events.

The annual Sawdust City drag show has had to be cancelled this year – usually attracting over 100 viewers. In its place, the local drag performers will be hosting Driveway Drag Shows – which have become popular in larger cities during the pandemic. Details and dates will be available online.


The annual Muskoka Pride Parade and Picnic have had to be cancelled this year, due to limits on social gatherings. The planning committee instead has chosen to bring the spirit of Pride to the main streets of Muskoka’s towns by holding the Muskoka Rainbow Road Tour on July 18 and 26.

People are invited to decorate their vehicles and join us for a road tour around Lake of Bays (on July 18) and Lake Muskoka (on July 26). Participants are asked to sign up at the Muskoka Pride website, and they will receive details about the starting point and checkpoints along the route. Face masks and social distancing will be expected.

Everyone, no matter how you identify, is welcome to attend Muskoka Pride events.

To see a full schedule of events go to or click “Events” on the Muskoka Pride Facebook Page.

Muskoka Pride receives funding from the Government of Canada through the Local Festivals - Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage grant.

We would like to thank our 2020 Signature Sponsors: TD Bank, Walmart Canada, Bala Cranberry Festival.